Romain Grosjean could return from his massive Bahrain Grand Prix accident immediately and race in next weekend’s second event at the Sakhir circuit, says his Haas Formula 1 team boss.
Grosjean has been hospitalised with burns on his hands after a horrific 137mph crash in which his car split in two and was engulfed in flames on the opening lap of Sunday’s Bahrain GP.
The Frenchman, who is leaving F1 at the end of the year, went to hospital with fears of broken ribs but X-rays have shown no fractures.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner spoke to Grosjean over the phone on Sunday and plans to visit him in hospital on Monday to get a further update, but told media including The Race that presently the priority is for Grosjean to drive again next week if he feels up to it physically and mentally.
Steiner, who said “an angel was with us” on Sunday, stressed that does not mean Grosjean will be expected to drive even if he is passed physically fit.
“At the moment for me Romain is driving” :: Guenther Steiner
He said he will support whatever Grosjean wants to do and it is down to him to decide if he is comfortable with it.
“My plan is tomorrow to go and see him, see what is really happening,” said Grosjean.
“I didn’t go there today, I just spoke on the telephone with them because we had a lot of stuff to sort out here.
An update from Romain himself. Pleased to see you’re in good spirits! We hope you make a speedy recovery 🙏 pic.twitter.com/njnjjH4GBi
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2020
“I will go there tomorrow morning, speak with him and see what the doctors have to say tomorrow and go from there.
“We’ve always got a plan in place but at the moment my plan is if he’s OK to get back in there to race in Bahrain next week [he can]. But we have to wait.”
Haas’s development drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz have no F1 experience and it is unclear whether they both have the necessary superlicence qualifications.
Deletraz (pictured above) is also due to complete his Formula 2 season next weekend in Bahrain.
An alternative would be for Haas to try to call up an experienced driver like Nico Hulkenberg, who has deputised for Racing Point on three occasions this season.
However, Steiner – who says Haas does have sufficient spares to build a replacement chassis for next weekend – reiterated he will speak to Grosjean first and, injuries permitting, consider him the leading candidate to drive.
“I want to speak first to Romain before speculating whoever goes in there if he cannot drive,” Steiner said.
“So, it will be only in the next few days when we get from the doctors the verdict of how bad the injuries are then we decide what we’re doing.
“At the moment for me Romain is driving.”
Steiner said Grosjean had been in “good spirits” when they spoke and that he had already been in communication with his family.
“We cracked a few jokes and we just talked a little bit,” said Steiner. “He asked me a few things, I’m asking a few things but he was very upbeat.
“He was on the phone with his son so he spoke with his family. He was good.”